OTV Exclusive: Puri King opens up on Puri Srimandir management reforms

Puri: Amid the flutter in Odisha over suggestions of the Supreme Court to abolish the heredity system of service by sevayats in the Puri Srimandir and entry of non-Hindus into the 12th century shrine, Puri King Gajapati Dibyasingha Deb on Saturday expressed several concerns related to the proposals.

In an exclusive one-on-one interview with OTV, the Puri King said “The suggestions of the Supreme Court seem to be like an interim direction. The Puri Srimandir management committee will definitely hold discussions after Rath Yatra and whatever the committee decides, the Srimandir administration will take steps accordingly.”

“We will accept whatever the Dharma Guru decides; going by majority vote or majority opinion is not recommended here. Decision of the Shankaracharya of Govardhan Math Peeth (Puri) should be final,” the Gajapati said.

Expressing concerns over the safety and security of the Srimandir, Dibyasingha Deb said: “Suppose, Shankaracharya accepts the SC’s proposal to allow non-Hindus to the Srimandir, then will the Odisha government be able to provide adequate security to the temple and keep it safe. Looking into the present scenario (terrorism) of the world, the government will have to take a call at an administrative level in this regard.”

On doing away with the heredity system of service by sevayats, the Gajapati said “It’s a serious issue and it should not be taken lightly. We have to think a lot on this age-old tradition taking into account various aspects like- is it necessary to abolish the tradition; if abolished, then its ramification and impact (good or bad) on the temple’s rituals.”

The SC will examine the views of the servitors, the devotees, the government and others following which it will decide, he added.